Exhibit Spotlight: Hesperornis regalis

What has teeth and couldn’t fly? Probably not a bird, unless it happened to be Hesperornis. This Late Cretaceous sea bird retained many features from its dinosaur heritage, and developed some crazy specialized features seen in no other bird lineage, yet among fossil birds its family remains the closest to anatomically modern birds currently known. Nearly 150 years of study and some excellent specimens have given scientists a great look at its anatomy, but it’s so weird in so many familiar ways that it remains a tantalizing mystery. Start your own investigation into this prehistoric oddity with the following sampler of Hesperornis factoids!

Exhibit Spotlight: Amargasaurus cazaui

An easy fan favorite among dinosaur enthusiasts, Amargasaurus adds some variety to the sauropod group with its odd neck spines. It’s more than just a spiny neck, though:

Exhibit Spotlight: Microraptor zhaoianus

Let’s scope out an indoors exhibit this time. Our Microraptor sculpture has been removed for refurbishing, but its nominal display poses it preparing to leap from the tree next to its North American cousin, distant in both relationship and geography, Hagryphus. Prepare yourself for the tiny awesomeness of Microraptor!

Exhibit Spotlight: Brachiosaurus altithorax

Steven Spielberg did well in using this iconic giant to make the first full appearance of a dinosaur in Jurassic Park one of the most memorable scenes in cinema. It might no longer count as the largest dinosaur ever found, but its distinctive profile and still impressive size never fail to impress. Stand next to the Brachiosaurus sculpture in our park and you’ll see what I mean. As arresting as this animal can be physically, the science and stories behind it prove just as fascinating:

Exhibit Spotlight: Carnotaurus sastrei

With Carnotaurus featuring so prominently in the recent Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom trailer, it seems apropos to review the science on this genuinely bizarre dinosaur. Buckle up: this one’s gonna get weird.

Exhibit Spotlight: Baryonyx walkeri

The new trailer to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom appears to include Baryonyx as a new (to audiences) addition to the Jurassic Park fauna. Given that opportunity, let’s check it out in some detail.

Exhibit Spotlight: Spinosaurus aegypticus

A unique physical profile gave Spinosaurus an early edge in the popular imagination despite the fact that for nearly a century we knew very little about it. Discoveries during the past 32 years have slowly clarified our understanding of this bizarre animal, and every little bit that we learn serves to deepen its mystique.

Exhibit Spotlight: Smilodon

As an icon of prehistory, the Sabertooth Tiger looms large in the popular imagination. Sometimes this leads to misinterpretations of fossil evidence, leading to legends often mistaken for science. Then again, this spectacular creature often lives up to its own legendary status.

Exhibit Spotlight: Tyrannosaurus rex

With over a century of study and a fair amount of fossil data to go on, scientists have a lot to discuss about T. rex; thanks to its dramatic frame and name, so does everyone else. By far the most popular dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus has attained the status of a legendary icon, for better and worse. So without further ado, enjoy these tidbits: